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THE BEGGING-LETTER WRITER.

HE is a 'Household Word.' We all know
something of him. The amount of money he
annually diverts from wholesome and useful
purposes in the United Kingdom, would be a
set-off against the Window Tax. He is one
of the most shameless frauds and impositions
of this time. In his idleness, his mendacity,
and the immeasurable harm he does to the
deserving,—dirtying the stream of true
benevolence, and muddling the brains of foolish
justices, with inability to distinguish between
the base coin of distress, and the true currency
we have always among us,—he is more worthy
of Norfolk Island than three-fourths of the
worst characters who are sent there. Under
any rational system, he would have been sent
there long ago.

I, the writer of this paper, have been, for
some time, a chosen receiver of Begging
Letters. For fourteen years, my house has
been made as regular a Receiving House for
such communications as any one of the great
branch Post-Offices is for general correspondence.
I ought to know something of the
Begging-Letter Writer. He has besieged my
door, at all hours of the day and night; he
has fought my servant; he has lain in ambush
for me, going out and coming in; he has
followed me out of town into the country; he
has appeared at provincial hotels, where I
have been staying for only a few hours; he
has written to me from immense distances,
when I have been out of England. He has
fallen sick; he has died, and been buried; he
has come to life again, and again departed
from this transitory scene; he has been his
own son, his own mother, his own baby, his
idiot brother, his uncle, his aunt, his aged
grandfather. He has wanted a great coat, to
go to India in; a pound, to set him up in life
for ever; a pair of boots, to take him to the
coast of China; a hat, to get him into a permanent
situation under Government. He has
frequently been exactly seven-and-sixpence
short of independence. He has had such
openings at Liverpoolposts of great trust
and confidence in merchants' houses, which
nothing but seven-and-sixpence was wanting to
him to securethat I wonder he is not Mayor
of that flourishing town at the present moment.

The natural phenomena of which he has
been the victim, are of a most astounding
nature. He has had two children, who have
never grown up; who have never had  anything
to cover them at night; who have been
continually driving him mad, by asking in vain for
food; who have never come out of fevers and
measles (which, I suppose, has accounted for
his fuming his letters with tobacco  smoke, as
a disinfectant); who have never changed in
the least degree, through fourteen long
revolving years. As to his wife, what that
suffering woman has undergone, nobody knows.
She has always been in an interesting situation
through the same long period, and has never
been confined yet. His devotion to her has
been unceasing. He has never cared for
himself; he could have perishedhe would
rather, in shortbut was it not his Christian
duty as a man, a husband, and a father, to
write begging letters when he looked at her?
(He has usually remarked that he would call
  in the evening for an answer to this question.)

He has been the sport of the strangest
misfortunes. What his brother has done to him
would have broken anybody else's heart. His
brother went into business with him, and ran
away with the money; his brother got him to
be security for an immense sum, and left him
to pay it; his brother would have given him
employment to the tune of hundreds a-year, if
he would have consented to write letters on a
Sunday; his brother enunciated principles
incompatible with his religious views, and he
could not (in consequence) permit his brother
to provide for him. His landlord has never
shown a spark of human feeling. When he
put in that execution I don't know, but he
has never taken it out. The broker's man has
grown grey in possession. They will have to
bury him some day.

He has been attached to every conceivable
pursuit. He has been in the army, in the
navy, in the church, in the law; connected
with the press, the fine arts, public institutions,
every description and grade of business.
He has been brought up as a gentleman; he
has been at every college in Oxford and
Cambridge; he can quote Latin in his letters
(but generally mis-spells some minor English
word); he can tell you what Shakespeare says
about begging, better than you know it. It is
to be observed, that in the midst of his afflictions
he always reads the newspapers; and

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